If you’re making a recipe that calls for tomato sauce but you have none, then you must be trying to figure out the best ways to substitute for tomato sauce. If so, keep reading as you will find 10 amazing substitutes for tomato sauce right here! There are even a few no tomato sauce substitutes here!
Tomato sauce is a tomato based type of sauce made with ingredients like tomato puree, water, salt, onion powder, citric acid, garlic powder, red peppers, sugar and other seasonings. Tomato sauce can be described as being sweet, umami and acidic. Usually tomato sauce is used to make pasta dishes, casseroles, meatballs, stews, braises and many other tomato based dishes.
But, what if you’re about to make a recipe that calls for tomato sauce and you have none? Chances are that you’ll be looking for a suitable substitute. Or maybe you’re allergic to tomatoes and you’re looking for a substitute that has no tomatoes but can be used in the same way. You will find all the answers here.
What are the best ways to substitute for tomato sauce?
The best substitutes are homemade tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato puree, strained tomatoes, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, as well as marinara sauce, pasta sauce, nomato sauce and roasted red pepper sauce. Each of these can be used as is, with varying results. However, you can learn how to turn each of these items into a homemade tomato sauce so that you get substitutes that are comparable to canned tomato sauce.
It is important to note that no other sub is an exact match for store-bought tomato sauce, but, these are quite close to the flavor and consistency of tomato sauce and will help you to make delicious tomato based dishes easily.
Best substitutes for tomato sauce
Homemade tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes
If you happen to have some fresh tomatoes on hand, these can be used to make a nice batch of fresh tomato sauce. To make it you will need fresh tomatoes (peeled, seeded and chopped), finely chopped garlic, finely chopped onions, olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper. Learn how to make a homemade fresh tomato sauce here. Once done, cool the sauce, then use it just like you would use canned tomato sauce.
Substitute ratio: 1 cup of homemade tomato sauce = 1 cup of canned tomato sauce
Homemade tomato sauce with tomato paste + water
A homemade sauce made with canned tomato paste and water can also be a great substitute for tomato sauce. To make it, you need 1 part water and 1 part tomato paste, as well as seasonings like black pepper, salt, garlic, red pepper flakes, a splash of vinegar and olive oil. Mix well with a hand whisk until all the ingredients are properly combined.
Once mixed, use this sauce in the same way you would use canned tomato sauce.
Substitute ratio: 1 cup of tomato paste tomato sauce = 1 cup of canned tomato sauce.
Tomato sauce with tomato puree
Tomato puree is thicker than tomato sauce, but it also makes a good alternative if you don’t mind the extra thickness. You can use it straight from the can as a tomato sauce replacement in many recipes.
However, you can turn canned tomato puree into a tomato sauce recipe. To do this, add some olive oil, finely chopped garlic and diced onion to a saucepan and cook on low heat until fragrant. Then add the red pepper flakes and mix. Lastly add in the tomato puree, as well as some sugar, salt and pepper and simmer for 15-30 minutes. Let it cool, then use this sauce just like you would use store-bought tomato sauce.
Substitute ratio: 1 cup of tomato puree tomato sauce = 1 cup of canned tomato sauce
Strained tomatoes can also be used to make a suitable substitute for tomato sauce.
In a saucepan, cook some finely chopped onion and garlic in some olive oil until fragrant, Then add in some vegetables like chopped carrots and celery and cook for a few minutes. Lastly, add the contents of a carton of strained tomatoes into the saucepan, as well as some salt, sugar and black pepper, and simmer for 30 minutes or until it reaches the desired consistency.
Let it cool, then use this sauce just like you would use tomato sauce in any recipe.
Substitute ratio: 1 cup of strained tomato sauce = 1 cup canned tomato sauce
If you happen to have a canned diced tomatoes available, this can also be used to make a tomato sauce substitute.
To make it, blend the diced tomatoes until smooth, then add the contents of the blender to a saucepan, simmer on low heat for a few minutes, then add seasonings, spices, vegetables and some sugar to taste. Continue to cook until you achieve a consistency that you like.
Use 1 part diced tomato sauce to replace 1 part canned tomato sauce.
Crushed tomatoes made into homemade sauce
A can of crushed tomatoes can also be used to make a suitable alternative for tomato sauce.
Start by sautéing some chopped garlic and onion in olive oil. Next, add carrots and celery and cook on low heat for a few minutes. Like the diced tomatoes above, blend the crushed tomatoes, then pour the contents of the blender into a saucepan, then add seasonings like black pepper, salt and some sugar and simmer for 30 minutes or until it is to your liking.
Once done, cool the sauce and use it just like regular tomato sauce.
Marinara sauce can also be used in place of tomato sauce. Marinara sauce is a simpler sauce made primarily with ingredients like tomato puree, garlic, basil and crushed red peppers. It is usually ready in under an hour. On the other hand, tomato sauce typically includes a lot more ingredients including some vegetables, spices and herbs, thus it is more rich and complex and usually takes hours to make.
Nevertheless, in a pinch marinara sauce can be used in place of tomato sauce in dishes like pasta, certain soups, certain chilis, lasagnas and more. It is thinner in terms of consistency and the flavor is lighter, but it works surprisingly well.
Another substitute for tomato sauce for people with allergies to tomato is nomato sauce.
Made with ingredients like olive oil, yellow onion, garlic cloves, minced, diced beets, diced carrots, vegetable broth, pumpkin puree or butternut squash, lemon juice and seasonings and herbs like Italian seasoning, dried oregano and sea salt. You can learn how to make this no tomato sauce also referred to as nomato sauce here.
Use this sauce just like you use regular tomato sauce, in dishes like pasta, pasta sauces, lasagna and more. A 1:1 substitute ratio is ideal.
Roasted red pepper sauce
Last, but not least roasted red pepper sauce can also be used as a healthy alternative to tomato sauce. This sauce is made with ingredients like roasted red peppers, onions, garlic, olive oil, vinegar and brown sugar.
As this red sauce is made with roasted red peppers, it does tend to have a smoky, sweet as well as a savory taste, but is is a great stand in for tomato sauce in most recipes including chicken dishes, seafood dishes, pasta, potatoes and more.
Learn how to make this roasted red pepper sauce here.
Tomato sauce is easy to find, but, if by any chance you need to replace it you can rest assured that there are many convenient and easy ways to do so. These 9 examples of tomato sauce substitutes show you how you can use other ingredients including canned tomato products or even vegetables like roasted red peppers, beets, pumpkin puree or carrots to find suitable replacements that work!